A.  4. v British literature into film
c.  British play--the others (except Shakespeare)

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Ben Jonson :" the Alchemist"

(1997, Creative Arts Television Archive)
(1964, b/w: black/white, 27 mins)

928 J81  1997

Experts from Jonson's 17th century "comedy of humors" in which a con man with a "philosopher's stone" dupes respectable but greedy members of the establishment. With the cast of a remarkable 1964 off-Broadway production.
Amadeus= (Shaffer)

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Amadeus by Peter Shaffer combines fiction and history to detail the final years of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The play also focuses on Antonio Salieri, an older composer who, propelled by jealousy, plots the tragic downfall of his rival, Mozart.

Anne of the Thousand Days / Mary, Queen of Scots

Anne of the Thousand Days / Mary, Queen of Scots

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As costume dramas go, this is a passionate and feisty one, keyed by the ever-luminous Vanessa Redgrave in the title role and the sharp-edged Glenda Jackson as her jealous cousin, Queen Elizabeth I (who knew a thing or two about palace intrigue). Mary, who was raised in France as a Catholic, claims the Scottish crown from her mother upon her death. But she runs up against religious prejudice, both from the Protestant Elizabeth (who had encountered anti-Protestant bias before she took the throne) and from Mary's Protestant half-brother James Stuart (Patrick McGoohan). Elizabeth, whose own reign is shaky (given a strong Catholic presence in her country), is nervous about her Catholic cousin--and made more so by Mary's seeming inability to appreciate the political niceties of the period. Redgrave received an Oscar nomination for her performance. 

                                                                                                                                                   --Marshall Fine

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Beggar's Opera, The (John Gray)

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English Baroque Soloists

(Leader: Elizabeth Wilcock)

Conductor and Musical Director: John Eliot Gardiner

Music Arranged by Jeremy Barlow and John Eliot Gardiner

Produced and directed by Jonathan Miller

Assistant Musical Director Paul Daniel

Beggar's Opera, The (1) (1989) EV/790/002B01

Beggar's Opera, The (2) (1989) EV/790/003B01

John Gay produced, apart from The Beggar's Opera, a small body of prose and poetry ranging in quality from brilliant to drab.

Becket (1964)


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Made in 1964, but set in 12th-century England, this is the fact-based story of Henry II (Peter O'Toole) and his dear friend, the Archbishop of Canterbury (Richard Burton). When the king appoints his former drinking buddy to the high religious office, he believes he has placed an ally into power. Instead, he learns that Thomas Becket very much takes his job to heart, prompting Henry to ask that fateful question-- "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?"

Splendid production of famous play about turbulent relationship between Thomas Becket and his king Henry II of England.  -- Amazon


Bright Star A

DVD eng/ 791.43 C196b

It's 1818 in Hampstead Village on the outskirts of London. Poet Charles Brown lives in one half of a house, the Dilkes family who live in the other half. Through their association with the Dilkes, the fatherless Brawne family know Mr. Brown. The Brawne's eldest daughter, Fanny Brawne, and Mr. Brown don't like each other. She thinks he's arrogant and rude, and he feels that she is pretentious, knowing only how to sew (admittedly well as she makes all her own fashionable clothes), flirt and give opinions on subjects about which she knows nothing. Insecure struggling poet 'John Keats' comes to live with his friend, Mr. Brown. Miss Brawne and Mr. Keats have a mutual attraction to each other, a relationship which however is slow to develop in part since Mr. Brown does whatever he can to keep the two apart. But other obstacles face the couple, including their eventual overwhelming passion for each other clouding their view of what the other does...

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Contemporary Theatre--Beckett: Waiting for Godot 

EV/822/014B01  V0031831

EVR/822/014M11  V0007890 

If there is one play that epitomizes both the modern condition and contemporary theatre, it is Beckett's beginningless and endless paean to the survival froce in man. This film presents Act II in its entirety, beginning with the return of Didi and Gogo to what they were doing Act I- waiting for Godot.

Cromwell (1970)


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A magnificent summary of the fundamental issues, and their resolution, which made the British nation what it once used to be, and was for 300 years, right up until 1945. Its not easy to compress the complicated historical events from 1640 to 1660 into 2 hours so simplification is so inevitable. But the basics are presented with excellent clarity, and produced with a marvelous balance between entertaining drama and solid essentials. Guinness and Harris are both on tremendous form: the defining characteristics of Charles were vacillation and weakness, and those of Cromwell force and resolution. Both were pious in their own ways. Charles, however, thought he could do what he liked in his position because God had put him there. Cromwell didn't share this belief, and that is what makes him a great man, and a great architect of the British political values which lasted for so long. Such was the man's personality, however, that even an author from a British Roman Catholic background felt obliged to title her biography: "Cromwell, Our Chief of Men".  -- Amazon  

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The Early English Drama:  Second Shepherd's Play


This film brings to sparkling life three critical works that constitute the beginning of English drama: the Easter trope Quem quaeritis, and two mystery plays. The Brome Abraham and Isaac is performed on a pageant wagon and The Second Shepherd's Play-the first great English comedy-on the moors near Wakefield where it originated.
Equus (Shaffer)    

EV/792/035B01   V0032298 ELD/792/035L11  513L11

Psychiatrist Martin Dysart is handed the most shocking case of his career when Alan Strang is entrusted to his care. Strang has blinded 6 horses with a metal spike, an eeier and terrifying act. The suspects in the psychological mystery that ensues include Alan's father, a man with a secret life, and the girl who was found hysterical on the night of the crime.


A relatively authentic staging of the medieval play. No subtitles, but the students in my class said they really appreciated this video when we saw it in conjunction with reading the play. (Dr. Marguerite Connor)

Elizabeth R

Elizabeth R


791.45 W571 DVD eng

Glenda Jackson is majestic in the six-video miniseries from the BBC, Elizabeth R. Covering the entire reign of Elizabeth I, from her struggles with her half-sister Mary just before being crowned as queen to her death in 1603, the series profiles the life of the Virgin Queen in detail--and with historical accuracy--not possible in the as beautiful, but much shorter, theatrical release, Elizabeth. Religious conflicts, her struggle over the execution of her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, battles with Spain, court politics, and of course her flirtations with Robert Dudley (portrayed as an almost-comical fop by Robert Hardy) and her decision to remain unmarried are just some of the highlights of this magnificently costumed and finely acted piece. Jackson skillfully captures the capricious moods and incredible intellect of the queen who defied the pope and the conventions of the time as a strong-willed woman, and characters from textbooks--Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Walter Raleigh, King Phillip II--come vividly to life. Elizabeth R (the "R" is for "Regina") is a splendid melding of history and entertainment, and as thorough as this series is, you will still long for more.  --Jenny Brown

Episodes: The Lion's Cub, The Marriage Game, Shadow of the Sun, Horrible Conspiracies, The Enterprise of England, Sweet England's Pride.  -- Amazon

Masterpiece Theatre: Elizabeth I - The Virgin Queen (2005)

Masterpiece Theatre: Elizabeth I - The Virgin Queen

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As The Virgin Queen begins, a young Elizabeth is imprisoned in the Tower of London by Queen Mary, charged with conspiracy and treason. Both women are daughters of the ruthless and oft-married Henry VIII, who plunged England into turmoil by breaking with the Roman Catholic Church. Mary wants to reunite with Rome, while Elizabeth is determined to stand by her Protestant faith--a potentially fatal choice. But Elizabeths life takes an unexpected turn when Mary dies, leaving no heir to the throne. As the new queen, Elizabeth discovers the harsh realities of ruling a religiously divided nation and must learn to outwit her enemies and charm those who conspire to their own ends.

Starring Anne-Marie Duff as the shrewd and captivating queen who defended her throne amidst an atmosphere of plotting and intrigue, torture and murder, The Virgin Queen is a riveting drama that explores the fascinating 44-year reign of Elizabeth I.  -- Amazon  

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Homecoming, The (Harold Pinter)


After seven years, Odysseus leaves Calypso and is shipwrecked once again, this time to be tossed ashore in the Land of the Phoecians, where Nausicaa provides the hospitality the gods rewuire of all mortals and Odysseus tells the story of his adventures to King Alcinous. Landing finally in Ithaca, he is greeted by the goddess Athene disguised as a beggar, who advises him on the strategy for regaining his palace and his wife.

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An Ideal Husband --donated by Cecilia Liu

Cast: Rupert Everett, Julianne Moore, Jeremy Northam, Cate Blanchett, Minnie Driver, John Wood, Peter Vaughn, Lindsay Duncan, Ben Pullen and Jeroen Krabbe (uncredited).
Writer-director: Oliver Parker. (Screenplay based on a play by Oscar Wilde.)
Cinematographer: David Johnson.
Composer: Charlie Mole.
Running time: 96 minutes.

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Sexy leading man Rupert Everett (_Shakespeare in Love_, _My Best Friend's Wedding) heads an acclaimed all-star cast in this wonderfully witty story of decadence, romance and scandal!  Sir Robert (Jeremy Northam--_Happy Texas_, _Mimic_) is a highly respected politician whose spoltess reputation is the pride of his beautiful wife (Cate Blanchett -- _Elizabeth_) and adoring sister (Minnie Driver -- _Good Will Hunting_, _Grosse Pointe Blank_).  But when an old acquaintance (Julianne Moore -- _Boogie Nights_, _The Lost World: Jurassic Park_) threatens to reveal a dark secret from Robert's past, only his womanizing, party-loving best friend Goring (Everett) is scheming and dishonest enough to come to his aid! Overwhelmingly acclaimed by critics-- you'll love this fresh, funny motion picture and its stellar ensemble as they elevate the art of blackmail to an elegant game of wit and passion!
Importance of being Earnest, The (Anthony Asquith)

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The dazzlingly witty delight about a loverstruck suitor named Jack whose fiancee can only love a man named Ernest, is on of the theater's premier comic achievements.

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The hilarious adventure of two dashing young bachelors and the outrageous deceptions they find themselves in over love. Whenever Worthing wants to lezve his dull country life behind, he makes visits to the city posing as his fictitious"brother" Ernest.

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Joseph Chaikin and the Open Theater

(1997, Creative Arts Television Archive)

(1974, b/w:black/white, 55 mins)

928 C434  1997

The Open Theater group in "Nightwalk", its last performance piece before disbanding.

"Nightwalk" is a collective theater work, the creation of writers Jean-Claude van Itallie, Sam Shepard, Megan Terry, and Open Theater director Joseph Chaikin, as well as the actors.

It is a montage of surreal situations that examine the human condition in worlds both real and fantastic, presenting exaggerations of human pretensions. Human and birdlike creatures weave in and out. The "plot" is a journey, liberated from conventional thought.

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The Lion in Winter (2001)

Product Details

791.43 A635

In this 12th-century version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Henry II of England (Peter O'Toole) and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katharine Hepburn), meet on Christmas Eve to discuss the future of the throne. These two are having slight marital problems, as she is kept in captivity most of the year for raising a rebellion against him, and he flaunts his young mistress. Then there are the problems raised by their three treacherous and traitorous sons.

James Goldman won an Oscar® for the brilliant screenplay, based on his Broadway play. It is a tad wordy, as the action is kept to a minimum, but those words are sharp as daggers. The humor is wicked and black and delivered with very dry, dead-on precision. Sparks fly and the screen sizzles whenever Hepburn and O'Toole tango, which is often. Both were nominated for Academy Awards® for their vigorous performances. (She won; he didn't.) There's also an infamous homo-erotic exchange between Philip of France (Timothy Dalton) and Richard the Lionhearted (Anthony Hopkins). Both actors were making their feature-film debuts.  --Rochelle O'Gorman

Lady Jane (1985) (Trevor Nunn)

Lady Jane

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Jane (Helena Bonham Carter), a principled and precocious 15-year-old (she reads Plato in Greek) was a pawn in a plot to maintain Protestant rule in the wake of young King Edward's death. A dashing Cary Elwes, anticipating his swashbuckling role in The Princess Bride, costars as Northumberland's feckless, wastrel son, Guilford, whose arranged marriage to Jane unexpectedly blossoms into love and rebellion.  Anglophiles will bask in this impeccably mounted production (featuring Patrick Stewart as Jane's bullying father), but swooning teens, too, may embrace these young lovers as did the youths who made Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 Romeo & Juliet a box-office smash in its day.  --Donald Liebenson                             

Product Description: Teen-age Lady Jane Grey rules England briefly with lusty Lord Dudley in the royal confusion of 1553.  Studio: Paramount Home Video Release Date: 12/30/2003  Starring: Helena Bonham Carter, John Wood  -- Amazon

The Last King V

The Power and the Passion of Charles II

Product Details

791.43 W954

It's not always good to be king in this fascinating BBC/A&E historical drama, featuring a complex performance by Rufus Sewell as the exiled British monarch who returned to a volatile, post-Cromwell England in the 17th century. Pressed to forgive the enemies who killed his father, Charles II takes the throne and finds himself squeezed from all sides by vicious power brokers, his vengeful mother (Diana Rigg), a manipulative mistress (Helen McCrory), dubious advisers, a contrarian best friend (Rupert Graves), and his bewildered Portuguese wife (Shirley Henderson). Problems with the Plague and Charles's own, restless libido further complicate family and political dramas, but beneath the king's operatic tenure are visible strains of progressive government: Charles, after all, ushered in an early era of democracy in England. The Last King's sharp script never slows, but it's the cast's intense performances that bring royal intrigues to life.  --Tom Keogh                                     

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A man for all seasons (Bolt)

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Produced and Directed by FRED ZINNEMANN

Major Barbara (Gabriel Pascal)     (1941, Home Vision.)

original play by George Bernard Shaw; screenplay by Anatole de Grunwald & George Bernard Shaw

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A young and idealistic woman, who has adopted the Salvation Army and whose father is an armament industrialist, will save more souls directing her father's business. A comedy with social commentary.
My Fair Lady


A misogynistic and snobbish phonetics professor agrees to a wager that he can take a flower girl and make her presentable in high society.

A Man for All Seasons (Special Edition)

A Man for All Seasons (Special Edition)

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In 16th-century England, the corrupt King Henry VIII (Robert Shaw) betrays the Roman Catholic Church to divorce his wife and marry his latest conquest Anne Boleyn (Vanessa Redgrave). Sir Thomas More (Paul Scofield) is then forced to choose between his principles and duty to his heretical king, who has begun executing the treasonous with increasing frequency. The historically profound battle of ideals also involves Cardinal Wolsey (Orson Welles), Thomas Cromwell (Leo McKern), and More's valiant wife (Wendy Hiller).  -- Amazon

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(1990. 68 min.)

VH 4289

This video is an adaptation of a stage production of Corpus Christi plays mounted at the University of California at Irvine between 1985 and 1987 of the second play in the N-town passion play cycle.

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Pygmalion (George Bernard Shaw)

(1994, Hollywood Select Video)

(1938, black/white, 96 mins)

792.6 L635

A professor turns a cockney girl into a picture of refinement, fooling the world and almost himself as well. Leslie Howard gives an outstanding performance as professor Henry Higgins and Wendy Hiller is a memorable Eliza Doolittle in this George Bernard Shaw delicious comedy.  (Donated by Bro. Nicholas Koss)

Starring: Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller;

directed by Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard

Pride and Prejudice (Simon Langton)

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In this lavish adaptation of Jane Austen's classical romance, Elizabeth Bennett is a strong-willed yet sensible young woman whose father is a gentleman with a quite modest estate and whose uncle suffers in status from being a businessman in Cheapside. She has four sisters, a long-suffering but loving father, and a mother anxious to marry them to wealthy young gentlemen. At a local ball, she encounters one such wealthy young man, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy -- and as Mr. Darcy is arrogant, cold and rude, it is hatred at first sight. As her older sister Jane falls in love with Mr. Darcy's best friend Mr. Bingley, and her youngest sister Lydia flirts with anyone in a military uniform, Lizzie finds herself fighting off the attentions of the unctuous Mr. Collins and quite taken by the charming Mr. Wickham - who also happens to be an enemy of Mr. Darcy. However, as the characters succumb in many ways to pride and prejudice, Lizzie learns that not all is quite as it seems...and that Mr. Darcy might not be so disagreeable after all.  --IMDb

Pride and Prejudice (BBC) (1980)

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In Jane Austen's classic novel Pride and Prejudice, the arrival of a young, well-off, eligible man named Mr. Bingley sends the Bennet household--with five girls of a marrying age--into a tizzy. But it's the introduction of Mr. Bingley's friend, Mr. Darcy (played with an imperious scowl by David Rintoul), that sets in motion the fate of Elizabeth Bennet (the adorable Elizabeth Garvie), resolved only after a labyrinth of social and personal complexities. Austen's novels are miracles of skillful plotting, fusing a rich understanding of psychological motivation with whimsical turns of chance. This superb BBC adaptation from 1980 zips along, thanks to lively performances, fluid direction, and a keen grasp of the wit of Austen's dialogue (expertly translated to the screen by British novelist Fay Weldon) and her satirical characters, who range from clever and kind to utterly odious. Due to its faithfulness and deep appreciation of the material, this five-episode miniseries stands up against any other film or television adaptation (at least nine to date), though Rintoul may not sets hearts aflutter the way Colin Firth did in the also excellent 1995 miniseries.  --Amazon

Pride and Prejudice

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The exotic sounds, vibrant colors, and ecstatic dancing of Bollywood collide with the cunning storytelling of Jane Austen in Bride & Prejudice (from the writer/director of previous East/West hybrid Bend It Like Beckham). When smart, outspoken Lalita Bakshi (Indian beauty Aishwarya Rai) meets Will Darcy (Martin Henderson, The Ring), she finds this American businessman arrogant and conceited--but because his best friend is falling in love with her sister, Lalita agrees to travel around India with Darcy. On the trip, a childhood friend of Darcy's named Johnny (Daniel Gillies, Spider-Man 2) both tickles Lalita's fancy and confirms her worst suspicions about Darcy. But as events unfold, Lalita wonders if she hasn't misjudged Darcy--and Johnny. Austen fans will be find much to criticize; Bride & Prejudice transplants the basic plot of Pride & Prejudice to modern India, but not much of Austen's sly wit or her insights about character and society have survived the translation. Henderson, though handsome, lacks the intimidating charisma of previous Mr. Darcys (including Laurence Olivier and Colin Firth). Thank goodness for the delightful Rai, here making her first all-English-language movie. She commands the screen like a true star (unsurprisingly, she's hugely popular in India, and previously starred in a more homegrown Austen adaptation: I Have Found It, based on Sense & Sensibility). For Western audiences unfamiliar with the freewheeling exuberance of Indian movies--wild musical numbers can break out at almost any moment--Bride & Prejudice offers an engaging taste of this fantastic cinematic style.  --Amazon

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Oscar Wilde's play

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Late on Guy Fawkes Day, 1892, Oscar Wilde arrives at a high-class brothel where a surprise awaits: a staging of his play "Salome," with parts played by prostitutes, Wilde's host, his lover Bosey, and Lady Alice. The movie moves between the play and Wilde's night. In the play, Herod begs his pubescent step-daughter Salome to dance for him, promising her anything she desires. Her mother, Herodias, objects. Salome is stung by John the Baptist's rejection of her affections. The prophet's scolding celibacy puts him between the expressed desire of age and youth. Wilde dallies with a young man as he watches the show, provoking Bosey's jealousy. Two surprises await us.   -- IMDb

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To Kill A King (Mike Barker)

CD eng/ 791.43 B255

A recounting of the relationship between General Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell, as they try to cope with the consequences of deposing King Charles I.


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The Way of the World

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